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Target Sheep event supports Central West producers in the fight against worms



Virbac Australia’s latest Target Sheep program event has just wrapped up, with attendees describing the afternoon’s proceedings held last Friday in Orange, NSW as a golden opportunity to learn more about parasite management, with a special focus on current drench resistance levels in the Central West.

The Target Sheep animal health initiative is aimed at optimising the health and performance of livestock at three key stages of the production cycle; pre-joining, pre-lambing and marking/weaning - by focusing on how to increase productivity by managing drench resistance, and improving health and reproduction through strategic topping up of trace minerals and an effective vaccination program. The program brings together industry experts, veterinarians and producers to improve on-farm productivity and profitability through leading animal health management practices and industry benchmarks.

Key speakers at the event included Invetus Parasitology Research Leader, Tim Elliott and Virbac Australia Area Sales Manager, Emma Dodd. During her presentation, Emma explained the importance of combatting drench resistance in the sheep industry to ensure longevity with current products, based on findings from Faecal Egg Count Reduction Tests (FECRT) that have been undertaken throughout the Central West region.

“The results indicated that every farm we tested showed a varying level of drench resistance and no two farms were the same,” Emma revealed. “The results really highlighted the need for all sheep producers to carry out Faecal Egg Count Reduction Test’s and be aware of the resistance levels on their farm. In some cases, even neighbouring properties had completely different levels of resistance.”

Meanwhile, Tim’s presentation educated producers about worm biology and their life cycle, with tips on pasture management strategies to reduce the seasonal risk of internal parasites specific to the region. “Drought conditions, such as those currently in the region, can make worm management even more challenging,” said Tim. “These types of ongoing drought conditions-with-sporadic-rain events can lead to a much greater variable worm risk, because small rain events can trigger faster more concentrated parasite outbreaks. With there being already high levels of resistance in this region, it’s important for producers to tackle this problem head on and tailor a drench program that’s suited to the drench resistance status of their farm.”

Around 15 local sheep producers attended Friday’s event, and Andrew Glover from Mumblebone Merinos of Wellington NSW explained why he was excited to be a part of the Virbac Target Sheep program. “Sheep husbandry is continuously evolving, and it is important to be on the front foot. Parasite control and drench resistance management requires ongoing learning, to ensure we are on the right track at Mumblebone Merinos,” Andrew said.

With the event demonstrating Virbac Australia’s continuing commitment to supporting producers in the fight against drench resistance, each attendee also has ongoing free worm egg count testing provided by Virbac for the entirety of the program “We encouraged all attendees to continue monitoring their sheep throughout the duration of the program,” said Emma. “Hopefully this has been a useful discussion for the group, and it’s given them some useful information to now go out and act on.”

Virbac will be hosting further Target Sheep and Target Beef events throughout Australia in the coming months. For more information, visit https://au.virbac.com, follow Virbac Australia on Facebook or Instagram or call 1800 242 100.
 
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Kate Munsie - C7EVEN COMMUNICATIONS
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Adam Arndell - C7EVEN COMMUNICATIONS
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adam.arndell@c7even.com.au